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Thread: Software Recommendations 2010

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Software Recommendations 2010

    In this topic, it would be nice if you can post your current recommendations for software. Development, productivity, or anything.

    Here's what I can personally recommend:

    Installer - NSIS (free!)

    2D Windows Game Development - Construct (free!)
    http://www.scirra.com/

    Construct has been making great progress ever since it was initially released, and I support its development. Its ability to create games rapidly and without writing code is excellent.

    2D Multiplatform (Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Flash) Game Development - haXe (free!)
    http://haxe.org/
    http://haxe.org/doc/book
    http://gamehaxe.com/

    haXe is just plain great, and its future is very bright.

    Developer to Developer Discussion - Yammer
    https://www.yammer.com/

    Yammer is sort of like twitter for small groups of people. It's not free, but it's a great resource. We use it all of the time to share discussion between the few developers I network with closely, and it has a nice desktop client.

    Sharing Files Easily - Dropbox
    https://www.dropbox.com

    Dropbox has been a big productivity booster for us in the last two years as it has allowed us to share tons of development files quickly and without hassle. If you have not tried it out yourself now is the time to do so.

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    Since there doesn't seem to be an announcement thread for VVVVVV, I'm going to have to go ahead and recommend it. I love the game.

    Software wise, although I could name a truckload of apps, I'll throw down an unknown- Liquid Story Binder XE. It's a bit quirky in a few places, but really helpful if you're looking to collate a whole lot of random info. It's also the cheapest program around to build storyboards.

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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Reactor View Post
    Software wise, although I could name a truckload of apps, I'll throw down an unknown- Liquid Story Binder XE. It's a bit quirky in a few places, but really helpful if you're looking to collate a whole lot of random info. It's also the cheapest program around to build storyboards.
    Hey, this looks like a great piece of software, thanks!
    -James
    Haunted Hotel I, Haunted Hotel II, Jane Croft

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    No worries :)

    Some bits do need a bit more work (mindmaps, for example), but what it can do is surprising.

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    Lightbulb

    Not a specific recommendation, but if you're a student, you can get free Microsoft software via the DreamSpark program, including:

    • CCR DSS Toolkit 2008 R2
    • Expression Studio 3
    • Robotics Developer Studio 2008 R2
    • SQL Server 2008
    • SQL Server Express
    • Virtual PC
    • Visual Basic 2008 Express
    • Visual C++ 2008 Express
    • Visual C# 2008 Express
    • Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate Beta 2
    • Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
    • Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition
    • Visual Web Developer 2008 Express
    • Windows Embedded CE 6.0
    • Windows Server 2008 R2
    • Windows Server 2008
    • Windows Server 2003
    • XNA Game Studio 3.1
    You only need to provide a scanned/photographed copy of your student ID and program schedule. (FAQ)

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    For startups there's similar program called BizSpark.

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    If you are a programmer and want to build for flash, for free:

    Flex SDK


    Flash Develop IDE


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    Most of the apps I use regularly are likely already well known to everyone on here, but I'll list a few anyway.

    Installer

    InnoSetup

    Programming

    Visual Assist X.

    For programmers using Visual Studio, I highly recommend VAx. The extra shortcuts for switching between .h/.cpp, symbol search, jumping to methods, enhanced intellisense and syntax highlighting along with code snippets are just a few of the ways it can really help speed up development. 30 day demo available that's worth trying out.

    Docs

    OpenOffice Writer/Spreadsheet

    I'm sure everyone has heard of or tried this out, not as feature rich as word but then it covers 100% of the features of word/excel that I actually used.

    Google Docs

    Not as good as Office or even OpenOffice, but for collaboration with a small team we've found it incredibly useful.

    Lyx

    Recently been writing up a lot of my maths notes and Lyx has proved ideal for the task. It's a WYSIWYM GUI for LaTeX and initially takes a bit of getting used to when you've mainly used word processors. Has excellent maths layout support along with layouts for various journals. If you're planning on writing a paper (or book for that matter) on any aspect of game dev, Lyx is worth a look.

    Music

    Spotify - Free music.

    Video

    Khan Academy

    Not an app, but a series (>1000) of youtube videos that deal with Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology... The Maths videos go from basic arithmetic to Trig, Calculus, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra...
    Last edited by Gary Preston; 01-15-2010 at 04:57 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reactor View Post
    Since there doesn't seem to be an announcement thread for VVVVVV, I'm going to have to go ahead and recommend it. I love the game.

    Software wise, although I could name a truckload of apps, I'll throw down an unknown- Liquid Story Binder XE. It's a bit quirky in a few places, but really helpful if you're looking to collate a whole lot of random info. It's also the cheapest program around to build storyboards.
    Hey, I really like this! Thanks for the tip. A good thread overall, thanks to all.

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    DrPEtters creates awesome utils let's give him a shout out

    SOUND
    SFXR basic sound creation util


    3D creation
    sculptris a freeware zbrush wannabee, still very much in beta. Great for organic models
    Google sketchup very intuitive modelling for geometric objects (houses, etc) and with some tricks you can export to other formats
    Giles an awesome lightapper that is now freeware


    Engine
    UDK great, if your computer can handle it.
    Blitz3D nice overlooked little engine that will help you get 3D prototypes working in a breeze.

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    Just a couple that I use that weren't mentioned yet:

    Comparison Tools
    Beyond Compare - http://www.scootersoftware.com/
    Probably the best comparison tool out there for the price. I use it at work and at home and I simply can't live without it. It's great for merging code, or simply doing comparisons to see what's changed. It has plug-ins for most every needed file format. It also has scripting support so that you can perform simple->complex comparison/syncing tasks silently. I use the syncing regularly to sync my game between my desktop and laptop so I am always using the latest source.

    Automation Tools
    Auto-It - http://www.autoitscript.com/autoit3/
    A great tool to automate tedious tasks, whether they be keystrokes, mouse movements, window actions, etc. The uses for it are endless.
    Bruno Campolo, Bantam City Games
    Invadazoid - My Mediocre Blog - Follow me on Twitter

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    I suppose its too obvious, but anyway since nobody mentioned it...

    3D content creation
    Blender 3D - the best :-P

    ..

    shouldn't these be merged in the top thread?

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    I guess I can recommend a couple:

    Etherpad - a realtime document collaboration tool (I mean really real-time)

    I also quite like winmerge.

    I'd recommend visual assist to anyone who is using visual studio too.
    www.mindflock.com - social AI-based games

  14. #14
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    Dr Mal: Practice of Horror PC | Mac
    Crime Solitaire PC | Mac | iOS
    Magicville: Art of Magic PC | Mac
    Desktop Gaming Ltd | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter

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    Mine's a bit standard but:

    Flash:
    Flex Builder 3 (as3 + Box2d)

    iphone:
    Cocos2d (+ Box2d).

    Graphics:
    Inkscape, GIMP.

    Online backup:
    iDrive, Mozy.

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    Nobody has mentioned git! The best version control out there: light, faster, flexible, local Don't forget to version your stuff, especially your source code!

    Also there's github if you want to share what you're working on. You can find me here: http://github.com/richtaur
    Co-founder of Lost Decade Games, HTML5 game studio in Silicon Valley.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Preston
    Khan Academy

    Not an app, but a series (>1000) of youtube videos
    Jeesu... all recorded by one guy. That's insane (and awesome... and useful for a bit of a review here and there).

    I'll second WinMerge, and add:

    For torquescript IDE action:
    Torsion

    For keeping track of your 10 million things / ideas / notes:
    Surfulater (love!)

    For speeding up your random web-hopping on many occasions:
    Ubiquity
    Nightmare Adventures: The Witch's Prison is now available on PC, Mac, iPad, and iPhone.

  18. #18
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    Skill Enhancement:

    FXPhd
    I had a great experience with fxphd.com. They offer online video classes in visual effects software taught by professionals in the field. For $300 bucks each quarter you pick 3 classes and take 1 mandatory "background fundamentals" class. They release a new video for each class every week for 10 weeks.

    You have access to all the software (except for "platforms" like Scratch or Flame) through VPN service. It's a non-commercial license but a cheap way to learn some pretty pricey software. I took the introductory courses in Maya and Nuke. Great stuff!

    Gnomon Workshop
    The Gnomon Workshop now offers subscriptions for their video tutorials. For $300 bucks I signed up to their "Visual Effects and Games" subscription, which gives me online access to all of the tutorial DVDs they have on the subject, including any new ones released for a year.

    Again, real-world techniques taught by professionals in the field. The latest release is an introduction to the Unreal Development Kit Editor, taught by the CG supervisor for the Medal of Honor series.

    Invoicing:

    Fresh Books, simple with good customer service and free if you're only managing (I think) up to 5 clients.

    And the rest:

    I fully migrated to Open Office this year and have had no need or desire to go back to MS Office.

    VirtualBox - using it to cut my teeth in Linux without dual booting. Free and very easy to use. I'm loving virtualization! I can happily experiment with and destroy any guest operating system without losing data. Ubuntu with guest additions runs almost like a native install. 3D acceleration is dodgy but no worrying about wireless networking or updates borking your system.

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    Training:
    Gnomon workhop is awesome, you can download the DVD individually if you want to know just a few things, I did, incredible material. Lots of different subjects to learn from including traditional painting and drawing.

    Graphics:

    Paint Tool SAI: cheap and powerful art making software.

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    I find xp-dev.com along with tortoisesvn to be great for Source Control.

    http://www.xp-dev.com/
    http://tortoisesvn.tigris.org/

    For sound/wav editing/recording:
    http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

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    I'll add one more to the list. It's Control Runner. I use this every day, and have it set up to vanish when the window loses focus, and appear when I click one of the G keys on my G15.

    If you have a lot of programs, this one mighty helpful app.

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    Virtual SVN Server, [lite] Project Management/Bug Tracking
    www.unfuddle.com

    I've been using unfuddle for a few years now and couldn't work the same way without it. Free plan option for a single project and regular plans starting at $9/month.

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    This isn't a software recommendation, rather a feature I noticed in Windows 7 yesterday.

    If you press the windows key + any number key, it will launch or switch to the application you have pinned in that position on the launch bar.

    If you use shift+win+num it will launch a new instance of the program.

  24. #24
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    If you press the windows key + any number key, it will launch or switch to the application you have pinned in that position on the launch bar.
    Cool, that works in Vista too :)

    If you use shift+win+num it will launch a new instance of the program.
    That doesn't work for me, trying to launch Opera twice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reactor View Post
    Cool, that works in Vista too :)
    Actually i think this works since Windows 98. That's why the bar is named "quick launch" :-P.

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    Clicking on an icon has always been faster than finding the windows key and then a number key. Still, one to chalk up as, "A long-time Windows feature everyone thinks is new to version 7." ;)

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Preston View Post
    This isn't a software recommendation, rather a feature I noticed in Windows 7 yesterday.

    If you press the windows key + any number key, it will launch or switch to the application you have pinned in that position on the launch bar.

    If you use shift+win+num it will launch a new instance of the program.
    Thank you so much for this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Sector View Post
    Actually i think this works since Windows 98. That's why the bar is named "quick launch" :-P.
    I don't recall it working in XP, maybe it was introduced in Vista? Either way, I'm finding the shift+win+num really handy now Win7 makes you right click and then click again to launch a new instance.

    Also appears that pressing Win+Num when you have multiple instances open will toggle through just those instances. That's going to be useful for switching between VS windows without having to alt-tab through everything else :)

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    Project & team management (great if your team is remote):
    Base Camp: http://basecamphq.com/

    Bug tracking: Mantis http://www.mantisbt.org/

    Project time tracking and client invoicing:
    Fresh Books http://www.freshbooks.com
    Last edited by Spore Man; 01-26-2010 at 03:15 PM. Reason: Fixed bad link!

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